Very high density of CHO cells in perfusion by ATF or TFF in WAVE bioreactor™. Part I. Effect of the cell density on the process

Biotechnol Prog. 2013 May-Jun;29(3):754-67. doi: 10.1002/btpr.1704. Epub 2013 May 21.


High cell density perfusion process of antibody producing CHO cells was developed in disposable WAVE Bioreactor™ using external hollow fiber filter as cell separation device. Both "classical" tangential flow filtration (TFF) and alternating tangential flow system (ATF) equipment were used and compared. Consistency of both TFF- and ATF-based cultures was shown at 20-35 × 10(6) cells/mL density stabilized by cell bleeds. To minimize the nutrients deprivation and by-product accumulation, a perfusion rate correlated to the cell density was applied. The cells were maintained by cell bleeds at density 0.9-1.3 × 10(8) cells/mL in growing state and at high viability for more than 2 weeks. Finally, with the present settings, maximal cell densities of 2.14 × 10(8) cells/mL, achieved for the first time in a wave-induced bioreactor, and 1.32 × 10(8) cells/mL were reached using TFF and ATF systems, respectively. Using TFF, the cell density was limited by the membrane capacity for the encountered high viscosity and by the pCO2 level. Using ATF, the cell density was limited by the vacuum capacity failing to pull the highly viscous fluid. Thus, the TFF system allowed reaching higher cell densities. The TFF inlet pressure was highly correlated to the viscosity leading to the development of a model of this pressure, which is a useful tool for hollow fiber design of TFF and ATF. At very high cell density, the viscosity introduced physical limitations. This led us to recommend cell densities under 1.46 × 10(8) cell/mL based on the analysis of the theoretical distance between the cells for the present cell line.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioreactors*
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Culture Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Size
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Filtration
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Perfusion
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Viscosity


  • Oxygen